Texans turn around run defense
Houston allowed 615 yards rushing in its first three games. The
In the last three games, Houston surrendered just 135 rushing yards. On Sunday, the
The performance against Benson was different. He entered the game averaging almost 100 yards a game, but was held to 2.8 yards a carry. He was stopped for no gain or a loss three times and his longest run, which he scored on, was 10 yards.
The performance capped the lowest three-game rushing total in
“We have come a long way,” linebacker
Coach Gary Kubiak said the players haven’t really changed anything since the embarrassing start, they’re just doing things better.
“I think we’ve eliminated some mistakes and assignment issues and just been more sound in what we’re doing and it’s adding up to more plays,” he said.
The group has benefited from the improvement of rookie linebacker
“We knew with the lineup we had defensively on opening day, starting Cushing, starting Dunta, that there was a big risk from them not going through camp,” Kubiak said. “But for us to get to where we needed to be down the road, we knew those guys needed to be in there.”
Cushing leads all rookies with 48 tackles. He had the best game of his young career against Cincinnati with nine tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception near the goal line that halted the
“He’s a guy that when you get in crunch time he tends to make even more plays,” Kubiak said. “So he’s playing like a veteran, like a four- or five-year player now.”
Houston’s improvement against the run has coincided with the addition of safety
“His presence in just being here for about a month has obviously added a new dimension to our defense,” Kubiak said. “He’s played very well.”
Handling the run has helped the team dominate the second half of the last three games. Houston hasn’t allowed a point after halftime since Sept. 27 and has given up 161 yards combined in those quarters.
Benson managed 10 yards rushing on four carries after in the second half on Sunday. Houston shut down the
Houston’s run defense will be tested again on Sunday with a well-rested and healthy Gore, who hasn’t played in almost a month after injuring his right ankle on his first carry against Minnesota Sept. 27.
He was almost unstoppable in his last full game when he ran for 207 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the
“We just have to be ourselves and just go out there and play and try to keep the chains moving and get points,” Gore said of facing Houston’s improved defense. “If we do that, we should have a great chance of winning. That’s all we have to do.”